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Joschka Fischer on Terrorism: "To Defeat the Beast, Don't Feed the Beast."

Germany's former Foreign Minister Fischer started teaching at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. The cause of the 9/11 attacks was not U.S. foreign policy, but the lack of modernisation in the Arab world, he explained at a discussion to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Prof. Fischer, however, is concerned that U.S. mistakes increase the conflicts. His candid advice according to the German Der Tagesspiegel was: "To defeat the beast, don't feed the beast." He said more or less the same, but less outspoken in the NYT, as Dialog International reports.

"Stop blaming America for terrorism," demands
says Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Price winning author Anne Applebaum in a British Telegraph op-ed (HT: Don). She criticizes that many Europeans started blaming the United States already right after 9/11:
While not entirely incorrect, the notion that President Bush has wasted international post-9/11 sympathy is not entirely accurate either. As I say, at the time of the attacks, influential Europeans, and influential Britons, were already disinclined for their own reasons to sympathise with any American tragedy. Instead of pointing fingers, the fifth anniversary of 9/11 might be a good time to reverse course. If "war on terrorism" has become an unpopular term, then call it something else. Call it a "war on fanaticism". Or – as we used to say in the Cold War – call it a "struggle for hearts and minds" in the Islamic communities of Europe and the Middle East. For whatever it's called, it won't succeed without both American and European support, without American and European mutual sympathy.
I don't think the term "war on terrorism" is a significant problem that stands in the way of more cooperation, but rather it is the strategies and policies and their implementation that matter. Besides, what is often ignored is that American and European intelligence and law enforcement agencies have increased their cooperation significantly and successfully.
Doyle McManus discusses in The Los Angeles Times, whether the U.S. is winning this war:
In a series of recent speeches to mark the anniversary of the attacks, Bush has declared: "America is winning the war on terror" and cited a list of achievements: "We've removed terrorist sanctuaries, disrupted their finances, killed and captured key operatives, broken up terrorist cells in America and other nations, and stopped new attacks before they're carried out." But terrorism experts worry that those successes have been mostly tactical, short-term gains -- the equivalent of winning the first few battles in a long war. On longer-term strategic issues, they warn, the U.S. may have lost ground since 2001:
•  Al Qaeda, the initial focus of the "global war on terror," has been disrupted and dispersed. But it has been succeeded by a looser network of affiliates and homegrown terrorists -- like those who carried out bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 -- who could grow to be just as dangerous.
•  The war in Iraq has become a training ground for Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia and other countries, and some have returned home with expertise in urban warfare and explosives. Some experts fear the Persian Gulf's oil terminals could be among their next targets.

•  Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon have damaged the image of the U.S. in much of the Muslim world and made it easier for terrorist organizations to win recruits. The wars and controversies over U.S. treatment of detainees also have made it more difficult for allied governments to cooperate with American counterterrorism programs, diplomats say.
•  When Foreign Policy magazine surveyed more than 100 experts earlier this year, 84% said they did not believe the United States was winning the war on terrorism. In a Los Angeles Times poll, fewer than one-fourth of Americans said they believed the nation was "winning"; more than half said it was too soon to tell.

And he quotes McCain on President Bush and Anti-Americanism:

"There is a certain amount of anti-Americanism which exists just because we're the world superpower," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "But in addition to that, deserved or undeservedly,the American image of hubris and condescension is damaging to our efforts. We should be more humble; we should be more considerate." Asked whether Bush had made that problem worse, McCain smiled. "I think sometimes the president's passion is interpreted as hubris…. [But] I think he fully recognizes that we have a problem, and I think he's working at trying to help improve America's image."

Reading Recommendation: Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century by Julia E. Sweig (
Amazon.com | Amazon.de):

                     

ENDNOTE:
Anne Applebaum also writes in Der Tagesspiegel about the upcoming anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and ends on this note:
And now? Once again, the United States, with some lukewarm European support, has embarked on a policy of democracy promotion in the Middle East: in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Iran. Yet at the same time, America and Europe have clear economic interests in the stability of these regimes. Just as in 1956, it's far from clear that Western leaders have any intention of backing up their words with deeds. The Hungarian revolution took place sixty years ago – but for all the mourning that will take place during the anniversary this fall, it's not clear that its lessons have been learned.
Likewise, one could criticize the lukewarm American support for the EU's Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which promotes democratization and liberalisation already since 1995, but needs improvement like the US sponsored equivalent Broader Middle East initiative.

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Atlantic Review on : Tagesthemen on 9/11: Harsh Criticism Based on Lack of Understanding

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The popular blog Davids Medienkritik shows a video of an Anti-Bush and Anti-American commentary in one of Germany's most respected TV news programs, including the English translation of the transcript. The bias against America and the strong dislike of President Bush speak for themselves and are obvious in commentator Christoph Luetgert's opinion, the timing (9/11 anniversary), his choice of words and even their pronunciation. Let's just focus on one issue here: Some of the statements by commentator Christoph Luetgert could be defended, like the one that President Bush was "in effect a help in fulfilling the objectives of the terror godfather bin Laden." (Davids Medienkritik missed the words "in effect" in their transcript, but let's ignore that.)

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JW-Atlantic Review on :

I just stumbled upon this: [quote="Angus Reid Global Scan : Polls & Research"]Many adults in the United States believe their government’s policies are having a negative effect, according to a poll by CBS News. 54 per cent of respondents believe the Bush administration’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is creating more terrorists who are planning to attack.[/quote] More at [b][url=http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/13067]Angus Reid[/url]: [/b]

Don on :

'"Stop blaming America for terrorism," demands Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Price winning author Anne Applebaum"' Actualy she didn't make any such demand, except perhaps implicitly. She pointed out that poisonous attacks on the US began before George Bush lifted a finger to make any response. I've pointed it out before, and now Applebaum does also. Le Monde published 'We are all Americans' in the September 12th edition. The sympathetic reaction lasted precisely one day in their case. The gang attack on the US ambassador by BBC 'journalists' occurred only a few days after 9/11 - certainly less than a week. Three days if memory serves. I don't remember how long it was before the German press added to the chorus, but it wasn't very long as I recall. It might have been as long as two weeks; probably not. Even so they showed commendable restraint compared with the noble souls at the Guardian, the Beeb, and Le Monde..... Wise americans (like Ms Applebaum) have given over demanding anything from Europeans - or even asking nicely for civilized behavior one would think due to a long time ally and friend who has expended $5 trillion on the defense of Europe over the years. Experience tells us that demands or polite requests - are usually met with hostility and the opposite behavior to that requested. Best to keep silent and avert one's gaze - from Europe's shame.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

First I wanted to write "asks", but that sounded to weak. So I chose "demand". Now I realize "demand" is too strong, but I can't think of a better word. It's way past midnight here... Any suggestion?

VinceTN on :

I can believe our policies are producing more terror. Before Bush, the animals could pick their time and place, now they have to attack whenever and wherever they're able. Cornered rats are bit more ambitious physically than rats left free to roam the house. They're also more dangerous. Still, do you want the rat free to roam as in the past or do you want it cornered and eventually killed? Thank you for this web site. I was doubtful of its use or aims in the beginning but you do show great openess of mind towards posters such as myself who lack the skill of sensitive (should be spoken with a lisp) or diplomatic posts.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thank you! Keep on commenting. Your thoughts are very much appreciated. No need to mince words.

Harry on :

America turns into a fascist state. My statement from years back right after the constitution-violating actions of Patriot Act I+II is validated now even by commentators on MSNBC: Look especially for the last few sentences by writer Murrow (written in 1954 during the McCarthy years): http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/083106Z.shtml There Is Fascism, Indeed By Keith Olbermann MSNBC Wednesday 30 August 2006 The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet. Mr. Rumsfeld's remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis-and the sober contemplation-of every American. For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence - indeed, the loyalty - of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants - our employees - with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration's track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve. Dissent and disagreement with government is the life's blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq. It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong. In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld's speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril-with a growing evil-powerful and remorseless. That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld's, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the "secret information." It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld's - questioning their intellect and their morality. That government was England's, in the 1930's. It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England. It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords. It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions - its own omniscience - needed to be dismissed. The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth. Most relevant of all - it "knew" that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused. That critic's name was Winston Churchill. Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill. History - and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England - have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty - and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts. Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy. Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute - and exclusive - in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain. But back to today's Omniscient ones. That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And, as such, all voices count - not just his. Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience - about Osama Bin Laden's plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein's weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina's impact one year ago - we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their "omniscience" as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego. But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris. Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have - inadvertently or intentionally - profited and benefited, both personally, and politically. And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer's New Clothes? In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America? The confusion we - as its citizens- must now address, is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note - with hope in your heart - that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too. The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought. And about Mr. Rumsfeld's other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism." As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that - though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed. Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: "confused" or "immoral." Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full: "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular." And so good night, and good luck.

Pinkerton on :

Keith Olbermann's editorial was indeed well written and right on mark. He has said exactly what many Americans have wanted to be said, but were stifled by the Conservative Main Stream Media. He pointed to the hypocricy that this administration has flaunted from the moment they stepped into office and was intensified after 911. The one thing that Rumsfeld said sticks out in my mind was made during a question and answer session with soldiers from Iraq. He was asked why they were sent to war with faulty equipment. Why did they have to go through scrap heaps in order to find material to re-inforce their vehicles to keep them safe from road bombs. His reply was chilling. He said, (not exact quote) "you go to war with what you have". This administration didn't plan properly for this war. They sent our servicemen and women into battle, knowing that they were ill-equipped. They didn't, and still don't, listen to the commanders on the ground who are calling for more troops. Yet, this man, Rumsfeld, tells our soldiers to just deal with it. The lack of respect and honor given to our soldiers, who are supposed to be protecting our country, was beyond belief. They are being led by an egotistical idiot, who is being led himself by another egotistical idiot, our President. If they can't even show respect for our own servicemen, how do any world leaders expect to be given respect? Personally, I don't see "anti-Americanism" in Europe, but I do hear of "anti_Bushism". It is the policy of this President, Bush, that has fueled hatred for our country. It is his lack of diplomacy, his lack of knowledge of war, and his attitude of "you're either with us, or against us" that has fueled this anger from Europeans and others within the world. John McCain said that people may mistake Bush's "passion" with "hubris". I say no, people aren't stupid...they know hubris when they see it. Passion comes from the heart, this President has no heart.

Don on :

Keith Olbermann comparing himself with Edward R Murrow. Now that's interesting. Also stupid, tedious, and fantastical. But interesting psychologically. I hope he's seeing an analyst. He clearly needs one.....

Clarsonimus on :

When it comes to feeding the beast, Joschka's the guy to ask. It's that not feeding the beast part I'm no so sure about.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Harry, Please, only insret short quotes and the link. Please don't post entire articles or speeches. @ ALL Just saw this: "Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds," by Ahmed Rashid: "Five years after the September 11 attacks, unprecedented global co-operation in the police and intelligence fields has thwarted dozens of potential terrorist atrocities on the soil of Western nations. Yet the traditional heartlands for sustaining Islamic extremists and their armies — Pakistan-Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East — are still being bitterly contested and even expanding as a result of the West's policy failures and refusal to allocate sufficient troops and resources to these regions.... [A]fter the war in Iraq and the US-British supported war in Lebanon, there is far greater anti-Americanism in the Muslim world than ever before and that could limit future intelligence co-operation. Also, the West's capacity to negotiate regional disputes is being undermined. Senior US diplomats admit it will take one or two generations to turn around America's image and potential in the Muslim world...." [url=http://eccentricstar.typepad.com/public_diplomacy_weblog_n/2006/09/sizing_up_where.html]Source with more[/url]

alec on :

[url=http://www.prosebeforehos.com/international-relations/07/24/removing-terrorists-but-not-removing-terrorism/index.html]I've written about this a couple of times[/url]. My problem is that we prop up a lot of regimes where terrorism originates. And in my mind, what democratic initiatives ARE there in Egypt and Saudi Arabia? We have really backed off on making any criticism of them since the Iraq invasion. Our policies have been far from evenhanded or long-term, concentrating instead on the short-term benefits (ie. killing terrorists, trying to dismantle their networks, etc).

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